Borrowed Hearts: New and Selected Stories

Rick DeMarinis, Author, Rick Demarmis, Author Seven Stories Press $24 (322p) ISBN 978-1-888363-98-2
""The Boys We Were, The Men We Became,"" the title of one of the 11 new stories in this compilation, also serves as shorthand for the themes that DeMarinis (The Year of the Zinc Penny) explores here. Taken together, the 21 intricately layered short narratives from previous collections and the new entries under the title ""Borrowed Hearts"" produce a poignant, dark yet often humorous portrait of American boyhood in the shadow of WWII, and American manhood in the gloom of confused values. Bludgeoned by misinformation from lost but overbearing adults, his boys find solace in the mechanics of ham radios and propeller planes. They become men confounded by hypocrisy, adultery and a tendency toward entropy. In ""Fault Lines,"" Alfredo--stunned by his wife's indifference and the relentless chatter of his hyperactive young son, fearful of the directions his cholesterol and testosterone numbers are taking-- tells a colleague he's a peaceful man. ""That's the world's number one oxymoron"" is the reply. Leon in the title story is in his mid-60s when he develops an ability to smell the past and all the nostalgia it evokes; the cause is pathology, an aneurysm that has to be removed. Bernard, in ""The Boys We Were..."" can't understand how his father returned from the war both fat and empty. Most of his characters are sympathetic; however, DeMarinis also produces a number of grotesques: missile-silo watchmen, door-to-door salesmen, the couple who abandon their children. DeMarinis's true territory is the isolation of men who yearn for a home that doesn't exist, boys who learned to be James Dean, Aldo Ray, Marlon Brando, then grew up to discover there was no market for that facility, and became men with spiritual indigestion. Author tour. (June)
Reviewed on: 07/01/2003
Release date: 07/01/2003
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-58322-040-5
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